create a message board

Message Board vs Forum

What are the differences between message boards and forums? Are forums and BBS two different things? Is a discussion forum and a bulletin board similar? Some types of websites allow you to create a discussion area dedicated to virtual communities. This is the case of discussion forums. But several terms are used to designate online community spaces: message board, bulletin board, board, online forum, discussion group… Even if differences exist, users often talk about the same thing. Discover in detail our explanations on forums and message boards.

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What is a message board?

Community websites are very popular on the internet. Many evolutions took place between the appearance of the first bulletin boards and the current forums (not to mention the social networks). To understand the differences between a forum and a discussion board, let's start by defining exactly what a message board is.

Definition of a message board

The term "message board" refers to online support for Internet users to discuss online. Visitors must register on the forum to join the community and post messages. Discussions and conversations are organized in the form of messages.

There are synonyms for talking about a message board: board, BBS or bulletin board for instance. The oldest term is “bulletin board system”, which refers to the first system of discussion between members as an online board.

You can find millions of message boards on the internet today. Each discussion board represents a specific online community. Message boards are great for creating an online support service or building a community of passionate members.

All types of website can add a message board to create a discussion area. It is possible to create a forum on a website, a blog... Even social networks offer new solutions very similar to the boards: Facebook Groups or Google Groups for example.

Organization and discussion on a message board

The message board is an online space that allows members to post questions and messages. A user creates a first message to start the discussion. Then the other users respond as messages. This set of messages then forms a thread.

On this way, you can browse the threads and topics and read the board. On the message boards, content is moderated by a team of moderators who ensure that the forum's charter is respected. Flood and spam are avoided.

The organization of the forum is important because it allows the community to easily find existing discussions and easily create new threads. The creator of the discussion board has the opportunity to organize his community website as he wants. In general, a semantic logic is respected in order to group the discussions by subject, thematic, product...

To structure the message board, the navigation will be organized in several levels through categories, sub-forums, tags... Easy to understand navigation is a key factor in the user experience. The structure of the message board will therefore impact the commitment of the community and promote discussions to have an active and lively community.

Differences between message boards and forums

We have just seen in detail what a message board is and the definition is very similar to a discussion forum. Therefore, are there differences between a board and a forum? Are the board and the forum the same? A semantic distinction exists but in a practical way today, a board and a forum refers to the same type of website to communicate with other people over the Internet.

Comparison of forums and message boards

The difference between a chat room and an online forum is easy to understand. On the chat room, all participants have to be online at the same time to chat and respond live. On a forum, or a message board, a user must first login, access the topic, and post a reply. A forum is a less instant solution to chat. On the other hand, the forum makes it possible to better organize the discussions and especially, to find them simply afterwards.

Therefore, forums and boards are the perfect online solution for discussing in an organized way. Each discussion is separated as a topic or thread. In addition, moderation tools are available and allow for quality messages and comments on forums.

Forums Message boards
Website dedicated to a specific community Website dedicated to a more simple purpose
Discussions are organized as a topic Discussions are organized as a thread
A user must register and join the community to participate A user must register and join the community to participate
The contents are moderated according to the charter of use The contents are moderated according to the charter of use
The forum allows multi-directional discussions among members and promotes debate The board focuses more on the initial question to provide answers
Forum has a modern and sophisticated design TMessage board has a more basic appearance


In English-speaking countries, both terms are used to date and the forum and message board now refers to the same type of community site. In practice, there is no difference between these two terms. Users talk about forum or message board to designate the same virtual communities.

In conclusion, there are some differences between a forum and a message board or a bulletin board. The board is the historical system that appeared first. The discussion forum is more in line with the evolution of bulletin boards and has become the reference term ever since.

Vocabulary used on forums and message boards

Here are the main words and terms used by forum and message board users. To find out, check out the entire list of phrases used by forum members.

  • Discussion board: discussion group, message board, bulletin board, board.
  • Forum: Internet forum, online forum, one forum or multiple fora.
  • Online community: the entirety of the discussion forum, the knowledge base and the members.
  • Topic: a specific discussion within a forum.
  • Thread: a specific thread within a board.
  • Category: main section of a forum.
  • Sub-forum: sub-section of a forum.
  • Post: an answer or a message published in a topic or a thread.

Create a message board

Why create a message board in the first place? How to create a private message board? How to start an online discussion community? Forumotion is a free forum and message board hosting service. It’s the best place to create a free message board and make your online forum a success.

On Forumotion, forums and message boards are the same: a modern community website optimized for online discussions! You can make a beautiful and customizable message board at any time and it’s 100% free of charge for forum owners and users. By activating SSL certificate, you can run your free forum in HTTPS. A message board, also called a forum, allows you to build your own community.

Start a public or private discussion by creating your personal message board: